Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (Dec. 18)

gavel[1]This is a live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Dec. 18. It’s not the official minutes.

Both meetings are being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and can also be watched online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

6:11 p.m.

The workshop has started.

6:13 p.m.

Star Insurance Settlement

The council unanimously approved the settlement of a city lawsuit against Star Insurance Company in 2011, which included a $4 million payment to the city. The lawsuit resulted from Star’s failure to cover an insurance claim for costs associated with the city’s defense and 2011 settlement of a lawsuit filed against the city by Weingarten Realty.

In 2007 and 2008, College Station was insured through Star Insurance for excess general liability coverage.  During the coverage period, Weingarten sued after the city denied Weingarten’s rezoning applications related to property it owned at the southeast corner of Rock Prairie Road and Texas State Highway 6.

6:32 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. These items were pulled for workshop discussion:

  • WPC Festival Grounds Restroom: This item is a$242,868 contract with Gaeke Construction for site work, electrical, water and wastewater utilities installation, and construction of a restroom facility at the Wolf Pen Creek Park Festival Site. Funds are available from remaining TIF funds and Community Park Zone C Parkland Dedication Funds.
  • Affordable Care Act Fee: This item is a $87,192 Transitional Reinsurance Fee mandated by the Affordable Care Act. The fee is due Jan. 15. Funds are available and budgeted in the Employee Benefits Fund.
  • Suddenlink Internet Service: This item is a three-year, $50,400 agreement with Suddenlink for internet services. The updated agreement increases the bandwidth available to the city from 25 Mbps to 100 Mbps, while decreasing the cost from $111 per MB to $14 per MB.
  • Rock Prairie Road Rehabilitation Project: This item is a $1.4 million construction contract to rehabilitate Rock Prairie Road from Stonebrook Drive to Fitch Parkway. The proposed improvements include base repair, pavement rehabilitation, and replacement of drainage culverts. A balance of $2,074,356.26 remains in the project budget, which is included in the Streets Capital Improvement Projects Fund.
  • No U-Turns On Texas near Cooner: This item would prohibit u-turns on northbound Texas Avenue between University Drive and Cooner Street. U-turns have been restricted as part of traffic mitigation plans approved by the Texas Department of Transportation for the Northpoint Crossing development.

 6:43 p.m. 

Internal Audit Reports

The council heard a presentation on three audits recently conducted by City Auditor Ty Elliott.  The Dependent Eligibility Audit identified several dependents for removal from the city’s health care plans, resulting in savings of $67,250 for FY15.

The Employee Reimbursement Audit reviewed all non-payroll checks issued to employees in FY14 and found few cases where support documentation and supervisor review was inadequate. The audit credited the city’s policies and procedures for minimizing the risk of fraud.

The Itemized Receipts Audit included all documentation for purchasing card transactions and determined that only 10 percent lacked sufficient documentation or receipts.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:03 p.m.

Project HOLD

The council heard a presentation about Project HOLD, the city’s online history database. The discussion was informational in nature, covering the purpose and contents of the database and how to use it.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:20 p.m.

Capital Project Needs

The council was updated on the city’s capital project needs regarding facilities, transportation and parks. Facility needs include police, a future fire station and administrative office space, while transportation needs encompass traffic signals, roadway widening and extensions, and TxDOT thoroughfares. Possible parks projects include a regional/community park, community recreation center and overall parks and recreation system improvements.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:29 p.m.

After the council discussed its calendar, future agenda items and committee reports, the workshop meeting was adjourned. The regular meeting will start after a short break.

7:37 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:45 p.m.

Groundwater Conservationist of the Year

The Brazos Valley Groundwater Conservation District board recognized Apache Corporation as its 2014 Groundwater Conservationist of the Year in recognition of the company’s purchase of wastewater from the City of College Station for use in oil and gas drilling activities. As part of its business model, Apache has committed to using treated effluent for its drilling operations rather than potable water from area aquifers.

Pictured below (l-r) are Alan Day (BVGCD), David Stratta (BVGCD), Tom McDonald (BVGCD), Pete Brien (BVGCD), Grant DeFosse (Apache Corp.), Les Thompson (Les Thompson Consulting), Mayor Nancy Berry, Cal Cooper (Apache Corp.), Dave Skodack (Sabre Technical Services), Scott Dyer (S-CON Services Inc.).

ApacheAward

7:54 p.m.

Hear Visitors

Three people spoke during Hear Visitors, when citizens may address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda.

Ben Roper recognized Pvt. Robert L. Frantz as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 19-year-old San Antonio native was on guard duty in Iraq on June 17, 2003 when a grenade was thrown over the wall.

Marty Allday, executive director of Consumer Energy Alliance-Texas, spoke in favor of balanced energy policies and commended the city for modernizing its oil and gas regulations. Richard Woodward spoke on behalf of Citizens of College Station for Safe Fracking and asked for stricter regulations of the local oil and gas industry.

7:55 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council unanimously approved the entire consent agenda:

  • A contract not to exceed $305,419.86 with National Field Services for annual electric substation maintenance.
  • A $242,868.50 contract with Gaeke Construction for site work, electrical, water and wastewater utilities installation, and construction of a restroom facility at the Wolf Pen Creek Park Festival Site.
  • The purchase of $89,172.68 in new grounds maintenance equipment for the Parks and Recreation Department.
  • An amendment to the city’s Code of Ordinances that adds a new rate class for commercial sewer customers who are not on the city’s water supply.
  • An annual purchase agreement not to exceed $100,100 for dewatering chemical (polymer) with Fort Bend Services.
  • A purchase not to exceed $99,553.35 from Avinext for mobile data terminals.
  • An Affordable Care Act-mandated transitional reinsurance fee of $87,192.
  • Projected health plan expenditures of $8.33 million for the 2015 calendar year. The projected costs represents about $838 per employee per month, or $10,056 per year.
  • A three-year, $50,400 agreement with Suddenlink for internet services.
  • A $1.4 million contract with Angel Brothers Enterprises for the construction of the Rock Prairie Road Rehabilitation Project.
  • Prohibited u-turns on northbound Texas Avenue between University Drive and Cooner Street.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding with the Bryan/College Station Metropolitan Planning Organization, the City of Bryan, Brazos County, Texas A&M University and the Texas Department of Transportation regarding the Bryan/College Station Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Coordination Program.
  • Changes to the city’s housing assistance programs, which are funded through federal grants, to make purchasing and maintaining a home more attainable for low and moderate income households.

8:48 p.m.

Jones-Butler Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-1 to change the zoning district boundaries from Heavy Industrial and General Suburban to Planned Development District for about 37 acres at 1800 Wellborn Road to allow for multi-family development. Councilwoman Blanche Brick voted against the motion.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

9:00 p.m.

Creek Meadows Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council unanimously changed the zoning district boundaries from Planned Development District and Rural to Planned Development District for about 19 acres at 3850 Greens Prairie Road West, located near the entrance to the Creek Meadows Subdivision entrance, to allow for single-family development.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

9:08 p.m.

Multi-Family and Mixed-Use Zoning Districts

After a public hearing, the council unanimously approved an amendment to the city’s Unified Development Ordinance creating and amending multi-family residential and mixed-use zoning districts.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

9:11 p.m.

2468 Barron Road Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council unanimously changed the zoning district boundaries from Rural to General Suburban for about 1 acre at 2468 Barron Road to allow of single-family development.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

9:16 p.m.

Parking Removal on Regal Row and Castlebrook

After a public hearing, the council unanimously approved a no stopping, standing or parking ordinance along Regal Row and Castlebrook Drive to improve pedestrian safety on school days.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

9:35 p.m.

2015 Bond Citizen Advisory Committee

The council selected 23 members for the 2015 Bond Citizen Advisory Committee, which will help identify and prioritize potential capital improvement projects to be submitted to voters in the November bond election. The committee will consist facilities, transportation and parks subcommittees.

  • Chair: Rod Thornton
  • C0-Chair: Bill Smith
  • Facilities Subcommittee: Gary Ives, Bill Lartigue, Kevin McGinnis, Scott Raisor, Rene Ramirez, Thomas Taylor, James Watson.
  • Transportation Subcommittee: James Batenhorst, Tedi Ellison, Linda Harvell, Ron Kaiser, Mark Green, Beverly Kuhn, Brittan Johnson.
  • Parks & Leisure Subcommittee: Jon Denton, Sherry Ellison, Don Hellriegel, Marc Chaloupka, Danny Stribling, Chris Scotti, Keith Roberts.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

9:35 p.m.

The final agenda item on council committee appointments was postponed until the next meeting, which is Jan. 8. The regular meeting has been adjourned. 

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s